the new faces of güerxs, mexico's boundary-breaking agency

From trans activism to real representation of Mexicans within the media — the models of güerxs are set to create major change.

by i-D Mexico
28 April 2017, 7:50am

Samantha, Havi, Emiliano, Alan, Aureliano. Abajo: Víctor, Marcela, Samuel, Angélica.

Started by 19-year-old Maria Osado last year, Güerxs agency has — like Lumpen in Moscow and Tomorrow Is Another Day in Germany — been working to not just shake up the industry, but to challenge the standards it's been based on. Tired of the lack of diversity presented by the fashion industry, Maria set up Güerxs to offer an alternative vision of beauty. In Mexico, the prevalence of imagery presenting an idealised look that doesn't reflect society at all -- white skinned people, usually blond with light eyes -- is a big aspect of what Güerxs is addressing. But tackling genderdiversity of gender and body shape are just as important -- not mention kids with their own ideas. i-D Mexico got to know the freshly-cast faces of Güerxs.

Aureliano, 19

Where do you live?
In the Roma Norte neighbourhood. I live with my parents and my sister.

What do you do?
Right now I'm a nini [a Spanish term for not working or studying], but I draw and have a magazine collective with a friend. We already have five publications: three comics and two collaborative fanzines.

Why did you decide to attend the casting for Güerxs?
Because I saw the first generation of their casting and I liked the photos and what they were doing. I like Maria, Adrian and everybody who participates in the project.

Why do you think this is important for Mexico?
It's a good thing that there is something delving into the usual fashion stereotypes. It's also great that Güerxs with an "x" refers to the gender problems that exist in this city. It tackles two issues that affect us everyday in ways we do not even notice.

How do you see these identity problems as existing here?
They are too covered up, both race and gender issues, they are very present and they shape society one way or another. So doing something to tackle the problem is something good.

What is life like for you in Mexico City?
To be honest, I don't leave my room very often. I used to go out a lot but now I feel people are only looking for drugs and drinks, they are just posers. Also, when you go to a party, as a guy, other guys typically discuss misogynistic subjects as if you'll be complicit in talking with them about "man things". Normally I avoid them, because I'm not confrontational. I suppose I should be, but that's why I avoid going out; I don't want to be in that position, because even the person you least expect could make a misogynistic comment.


Havi, 22

Where do you live?
In the Narvarte neighbourhood. I live in an apartment that belonged to my parents. I live in a middle-class neighbourhood where the danger of being attacked is much lower than in other parts of the city.

What do you do?
I study visual arts and I do modelling, photography, video, 3D modelling and painting.

Why did you decide to attend the casting?
Because this is the moment when we must be inclusive, and I say "we must" because there are people who are being killed for something as simple as being who they really are. In my case, as I belong to the trans community, we are a very vulnerable demographic because normally we don't get hired, so for many girls the only option left is sex work, which is extremely dangerous and in our country it's still illegal. Even walking on the street could be risky, there are many restrictions just because of the way you look, and the way you express yourself through clothes.

As a trans woman, what do you think about the modelling landscape of Mexico?
Agencies don't sign trans girls, if you can work with a cis girl, why get into trouble? I feel that's the way they think about it, that signing a trans person sets out a problem because of their different body shape and features, while with cis models it doesn't happen. That's why it's important for me to be here, because I have not seen yet a Mexican trans model who properly represents the community, or gets really involved.

My life revolves around that deeply, I have the privilege of being an androgynous person with features considered beautiful, unlike other trans women who may be considered to be more masculine, which leads people to not respect their femininity.

Which everyday actions can others take to bring equality closer?
I think the most important thing is to respect and support the identity of people who are transitioning. We need more empathy to be willing to share and understand a reality that is hard. Suicide rates among trans people are so high; there is a 45% chance people will kill themselves before, during, or after the transition process. It is important to be more open about that, and open towards those different bodies and experiences.

@ H.4vi

Marcela, 19

What do you do?
I'm a dancer, and I study communication and design online at UNAM.

Where do you live?
I live at Calzada de La Ronda nearby Tlatelolco, because I was born there.

Why did you decide to attend the casting?
I've always been drawn to photography, I have always liked modelling but I had never done it professionally, and I deeply love what Maria does.

How did you find out about Güerxs?
First I saw it on TV a long time ago, and then Maria followed me on Instagram. That's how it all started. Everything they are doing is so cool, they don't follow beauty stereotypes and established rules. Everyone looks really good no matter what their features are.

Why do you think this agency is needed?
Because most people are very used to super-skinny models with slim faces and the same skin colour, but you don't have to look that way to be attractive and feel good.


Samuel, 19

Where do you live?
I live in two places, with my mum downtown, nearby Pino Suarez, and with my dad in Azcapotzalco.

What do you do?
I study visual arts at La Esmeralda and some friends and I have an art group called Cedemekos, we have a space where we run exhibitions,. Our idea is to host a monthly exhibition -- we opened the space just two and a half months ago. We are learning everything on the go: how to host an exhibition, how to curate in practice, how to make publicise it and so on.

Why did you decide to attend the casting for Güerxs? I was really curious about the project and about modelling. I had never considered this job until I started college a little while ago and people made comments, compliments or suggestions to me about being a model. They encouraged me to go to the casting, so I did it and now here I am.

Why do you think this project offers?
This project breaks with idealisations beyond the beauty industry, into the whole aesthetic industry that spans from visual arts to everyday life. And I think learning to not always have an idealised concept in your mind is awesome because it allows you to express yourself without pretending to be someone else.

Do you think Mexico needs something like this?
Yes, Mexico needs it so bad. Beauty here means to be blonde and with light-coloured eyes... We have been infused with that idea by the media, and now it pervades daily life.


Angélica, 22

Where do you live?
In Mexico City, in the Juarez neighbourhood. I live here because there is nothing to do in Hermosillo where I'm from, and here we have many more opportunities.

What do you do?
I have a clothing label called Baby Angel and I do photography with my friends, and whatever comes my way or whatever I fancy.

Why did you decide to be part of Güerxs?
Because I really like all the faces they cast, their diversity and their vibe. As I already knew them, I liked the idea of working with them. I had been invited to join other agencies, but I just did not feel I identified with them. We all have our own beauty and that is what makes us special, we are all utterly different.

How are you going to spend the rest of 2017?
I really want to focus on my career 100%.

Victor, 20

What do you do?
I'm a music producer. Currently I'm making drone with cassettes. Right now, that's what I'm focused on. My project is called Cero B.

Where do you play your music?
I just played at the NRMAL [festival] afterparty. Almost every time I've done a performance it has been at the Sonido Inconsciente's ACID HOUSE party. I have played at Puro Ghetto, Bahía and at Pasagüero I made an experimental sound performance with other friends.

Why did you decide to attend the casting call?
I performed at Güerxs' first anniversary party, with another friend. They asked me if I wanted to attend a casting, and I didn't want to because I just went there in order to play tracks, but eventually I did it and I was signed. This is my first time [modelling].

What do you think about being a model?
I really don't know much about it, I never thought about it before. It's so cool that they are so inclusive in this project. I feel really awkward, I don't know anything about this scene!

What do you think about Mexico in terms of the issue of inclusivity?
I think it is great that this project is attempting to change the aesthetics we are used to seeing in magazines, changing our own perspective of ourselves. I like this project because due to how it's being done it is a watershed for other projects to develop, and its proposal is cool because it is how things should actually be.

Emiliano, 18

What do you do?
I'm a musician. I'm part of a guitar and piano duo, we make experimental music -- it is a kind of jazz. I study jazz but I like more experimental things, tending to the jazzy direction.

Why did you decide to attend the casting call?
Maria told me she was interested in my profile, and I decided to attend because I thought it could be a good opportunity and a great experience. I had been in a short film before, but had never done modelling. To be honest, I feel at ease.

What do you think this project is doing for Mexico?
I think this project manages to break with those stereotypes that are so deeply rooted and defined. It's a beautiful idea, and I think Maria is really brave and always thinks outside the box, and that's what I like the most.

How far would you like to get with Güerxs?
Actually, I don't think I have a great future ahead of me in this industry, I see it more as more of an experience, but I enjoy it a lot.


Alan, 28

Where do you live?
I live downtown Mexico City. I like the vibe of that area, and being close to lots of places I usually visit.

What do you do?
I work for a fashion label. I'm also part of a play that is about to open. I do performance and photography. On weekends I DJ at a bar, and now I'm working with Güerxs!

Why did you decide to attend the casting call?
I've been in the city for four years now and I've done some freelance modelling work, but I've never signed with any agency. When Güerxs was launched, I immediately wanted to be part of the project.

Why do you think Mexico needs a project like this?
I think it's time to explore a wide range of beauty and break with the industry stereotypes. Güerxs has taken the first step.

What are you planning to do with the rest of 2017?
Continue with my projects, and grow in every possible sense, and enjoy it. The city is so inspiring, so it is really easy.


Samantha, 24

Why did you want to be part of Güerxs?
Because I really identified with the project and have followed it since it was launched. I think it's one of the most interesting projects in Mexico right now.

Why do you think it's important for Mexico?
We needed someone to suggest something different for modelling and fashion here. I feel we see the same people all the time. It is important for brown skin to be seen, because we live in a country where most people are brown. The fashion industry is always showing us foreign people with white skin. I'm very excited about Güerxs, about seeing something different here in Mexico, because in other countries there is much more diversity and here it is all about avoiding actually looking like a Mexican. There are many prejudices, and by being part of Güerxs we do bring change.

What would you say to the people who want to start a similar project?
I think it's important to create new projects based on what we want and what we dream of. If you want to start up your own agency, and propose new things, just do it. In my opinion, it is absolutely awesome seeing new things.



Text Cheryl Santos
Photography Gerardo Maldonado
Styling Zaid Osuna
Hair and makeup Adrián González
Víctor, Emiliano, Alan, Angélica, Samantha, Aureliano, Marcela, Samuel, Havi @ Güerxs Agency

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